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We invest in private offerings for both income and long term growth opportunities. We focus on alternative debt and early stage equity.

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As an asset manager for a family fund and tech entrepreneur, a lot of folks come up to me asking for advice about where to invest. This course is built to start you off on that journey: to help identify and make sense of the new opportunities and platforms that are dramatically changing the way investing is done.

I believe that everyone should understand how to invest their own money and understand the risks in doing so. I want to empower you to make your own investment decisions based on what works best for you.

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Mesh Lakhani

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I’m an investor for our personal family office. I focus on private investments in both early stage equity and alternative debt. When approaching early stage equity I believe in investing alongside the best in breed. We are an LP In seed stage fund, Red Swan VC (Alt School, Mic, Bond Street) and pre seed fund,Notation Capital (Zipdrug, Sawyer). We also coinvest with other investors (Arena VC, Expansion VC) via AngelList. This gives us access to top tier deals in the ecosystem.

Our main focus is alternative credit. We look to provide debt capital into investments that are collateralized, asset backed or use data driven technology to make lending decisions. We’ve provided early debt for VC backed companies like: Bond Street, Inventure, Payjoy & Produce Pay. We’ve been early adopters to platforms like Fundrise & Yield Street.

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12

Taylor Swift, An Angel (Investor)

Investing, Music, Tech

Taylor Swift wrote an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal last night about the Future of Music. It’s optimistic and sweet, encompassing the love she puts into her lyrics (I’m listening to her right now on Spotify to channel her goodness). Taylor Swift has the credentials to speak about the music industry. She’s a multi platinum, Grammy Award winning, arena tour selling singer-songwriter with millions of Twitter & Instagram followers. She makes some very intelligent observations.

  1. Piracy cannot be avoided- This is in reference to her fans recording her shows and putting them on Youtube. Swift responds by surprising her fans each night with guest stars.
  2. She doesn’t agree with the argument that the album as an economic entity is dying. TS understands that piracy, file sharing and streaming have slowed down music sales, but she believes in the value of an album and that there’s a price for it. You just have to put your heart and soul into it and produce something that fans will cherish.

I think this is a great starting point for TS to make her opinions known to not only the music industry, but to the tech industry. She should use her voice to elaborate. How can we make albums valuable? How can we get fans more engaged? How can we merge the gap between music creators and the creators of the technology that distributes that music.

We know that tech and the music industry have their differences. Record Labels blame technology for the fall in music revenue (50% down in the last ten years). Music tech entrepreneurs find it very difficult to work with content holders. Investors are weary about investing in music startups because of how hard it is to get distribution rights, and when you do margins are slim to none. Record Labels are reluctant to support music startups because of further disruption or because they lack funding. Of course we’ve had successes, maybe not profitable, but amazing companies that have changed our listening experience. Spotify, IMHO, saved the the music industry from on going piracy and file sharing. Over 10 million people pay $9.99 per month to stream music. Streaming is 21% of current music industry revenue.

I call the decrease in music sales a market correction. Prices for albums were just too expensive, and music consumers don’t want that. They’ve made that clear by not buying as many albums as they used to. However, they’re still buying concert tickets and merchandise. Those prices haven’t changed. If anything we may be paying more for tickets because of the marketplaces that exist to facilitate supply and demand (Stubhub).

So what about the album? Taylor Swift acknowledges that it’s important to surprise her fans. Give them something they really want, and they’ll buy it. Can you create that within an album? Of course, if you look at an album as content and not just songs. We took a stab at this two years ago. A failed startup called Album Jacket. We believed that we could create value in digital albums by allowing artists to add additional and exclusive content to them. A platform to redefine the album and allow for album discovery through curation. We got some great attention, even from the labels, but we couldn’t raise money because we didn’t have any license deals (a model we chose). We couldn’t get license deals until we could show we had funding. I decided it was too hard to move forward and we closed up shop. I was warned of the pain of a music startup, but I was passionate.

Imagine how many other music startups failed because the founders quit or just ran into the same brick wall of licensing content. What if Taylor Swift invested and mentored entrepreneurs who were passionate about creating amazing music experiences that had to deal with the industry she’s so familiar with? A Taylor Swift Syndicate on Angel List with all her other music pals investing $25,000- $100,000 into startups? I think that’s an interesting thought. Who better to make the right intros, give the right advice, and see if there’s product market fit (she can just ask her fans).

I don’t think I’ll do a music startup again, but I would love to see others try. Without them we wouldn’t have Spotify and Soundcloud. What I would really love to see are musicians like Taylor Swift back them. It’s just another form of fan engagement.

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Would love to hear from you. Please feel free to drop me a note at mesh(at)mk2c.com

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